Monday, February 16, 2015


One time, I was invited to attend the thanksgiving Mass of a newly ordained priest-friend from another diocese. During his thanksgiving speech, he introduced every member of his family but mentioned that another member was absent. His younger brother, to whom he was very close growing up, wasn’t there because he was serving an eight-year prison sentence for a crime he committed. He said that he will spend a good deal of his priesthood in prison ministry.

       That brought me to reflection: two brothers, same parents, same religious education, but totally different life orientation. In the First Reading today, we see a similar case. We have two brothers, Abel and Cain. They had the same parents. Presumably they had the same formation. One chose to be godly, the other chose to be a murderer. It all boils down to what we do with our power to choose.

       Didn’t the same happen to Judas and Peter? Judas chose to hold on to his guilt; Peter chose to hold on to God’s mercy. Judas ended up hanging himself; Peter ended up a saint, hanged on a tree upside down for the sake of Christ.

       In the Old testament, we are encouraged to orient our choices to life-giving choices. “This day, I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live,” says the book of Deuteronomy (30:19). In the New Testament, Jesus encouraged us: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

       What we do with our power to choose determines the difference between life and death, between being a sinner or a saint.

       What will it be for you? Fr. Joel Jason

No comments: